As expected, The Los Angeles Angels announced yesterday that Mike Scioscia and GM Jerry Dipoto will be back next year. Not everyone will be, however: the team has relieved bench coach Rob Picciolo and hitting coach Jim Eppard of their duties.
On the one hand: kind of surprising given what we’ve heard about tension between Scioscia and Dipoto and given how poor the results have been. On the other hand (a) owner Arte Moreno loves Scioscia; and (b) Moreno, by all accounts, spearheaded the moves to sign Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols, so perhaps he realizes that Dipoto is not a reasonable fall guy for the lack of success.
But there are two fall guys here in Picciolo and Eppard. Unless Kevin Towers has some insight into their alleged shortcomings like he did on Charles Nagy, we’ll likely never know why they fell. As is customary with coach dismissals.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.
Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.
Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.
This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.
As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.